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Joan Ferrini-Mundy appointed to President’s Committee of National Medal of Science


On March 24, University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy was announced to have been appointed to U.S. President Joe Biden’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.


The Committee on the National Medal of Science is composed of sixteen members who award the nation’s highest scientific achievement award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding achievements in the fields of engineering, mathematics, biology, chemistry, behavioral and social sciences and physics.


The National Medal of Science was established in 1961 during John F. Kennedy’s presidency, and was first awarded to Theodore Von Karman for his research with jet propulsion. The medal has since been awarded to 506 scientists and researchers.


Ferrini-Mundy’s appointment to the committee has been applauded by Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King.


“During her time at the University of Maine, Dr. Ferrini-Mundy has worked to solidify the school as a global leader in education and research, and she has helped train a new generation of Maine scientists,” Collins and King announced in a joint press release.


They went on to congratulate Ferrini-Mundy for the accomplishment.


“We congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition, and we know that she will be an immense asset to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.” Collins and King said in their release.


UMaine has also recently received accreditation as an R1 research university under Ferrini-Mundy’s leadership, making UMaine the only institution in Maine to receive that level of recognition. UMaine received the accreditation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education earlier this year, a prestigious accreditation reserved for only the highest performing research universities in the nation. Only 146 universities out of approximately 4,000 postsecondary institutions share this accreditation.


Ferrini-Mundy’s leadership and dedication to the importance of scientific research and STEM education have been recognized at a national level and her appointment to Biden’s Committee on the National Medal of Science is a testament to that dedication.


“The appointment by President Biden to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science is a distinct honor,” President Ferrini-Mundy said. “The recognition of the importance, value and contributions of the sciences, in all their forms, reminds us of the difference they make in our lives and in society. The same is true of the arts and humanities. Together, they are critical to who we are and what we can become, and it’s important to recognize and appreciate people who advance them.”


The President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science was disbanded following Barack Obama’s presidency, but is making its return this upcoming year. The committee will receive nominations, and deliberate on their selections for the award before seeking confirmation from President Biden on their selections. A candidate’s nomination is effective for three years and typically the award is given to up to twenty nominees per award season.

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